Powers Cosmic #8Written and Edited by Morfex
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Published by the Cosmic Powers Fan Fiction Group in
THE COSMIC POWERS UNLIMITED FANZINE ISSUE #43
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Powers Cosmic #8
"Posterity" - Part Two: Mortal Coils
(Note: This story continues takes place after Galactus: The Devourer!)
The Powers Cosmic are:
The Silver Surfer, Norrin Radd of Zenn La
Starglow, Shalla Bal of Zenn La
Firelord, Pyreus Kril of Xandar
Air-Walker, Gabriel Lan of Xandar
Nova, Frankie Raye of Earth
Continued from Powers Cosmic #7
What Has Gone Before:
During the Cosmic Union event, the former Heralds of Galactus learned that their bodies were solid Power Cosmic constructs of the World Devourer. Their original organic forms had been held in stasis in a secured chamber of Taa II, Galactus’ solar system-sized base. Reunited in body and soul, all the Heralds but Morg were granted access to the Power Cosmic through their organic frames, thereby making them susceptible to the all-consuming Hunger of Galactus.
Bal, Empress of Zenn La and former lover of the Silver Surfer, had served
Galactus as well in several incarnations, including that of “Ardina”
(translated roughly as “Star glow” from the Zen Lavian) and that of the
Punisher robot that defended the Devourer’s Worldship. In an act of valor she
nearly died, and the combined former Heralds created a Power Cosmic body for her
soul to inhabit. Possibly due to the Universe-wide changes brought about by the
Cosmic Union, her non-biological form was growing more and more unstable,
heroic former Heralds remained together as a division of the Protectors of the
Universe called the Powers Cosmic. Then came the death of Galactus the Devourer,
and his heirs knew that the Universe would never be the same again.
…Only Days Ago…
Alicia Masters left for Earth with
the Fantastic Four. The Surfer had felt for a brief time that love and happiness
were possible at her side. Galactus’ death changed everything. Despite his
feelings for her, Norrin’s responsibilities clearly negated any possibility of
a future together. His goodbye was more than a farewell until next time. It was
a reluctant severing of ties. The Universe had a purpose for him that outweighed
returning Alicia’s love, he knew that now. Once the Terran spacecraft had
taken off, the Surfer also departed the surface of the Shi’ar Homeworld.
Mantis did not depart for Earth with the Avengers, but rather
opted to stay and help the Shi’ar with rebuilding. Her abilities with plant
growth and manipulation would go a long way to help clear debris and reestablish
the capital’s renowned aerie gardens.
Mantis felt a deep remorse for
having abandoned her Spinsterhood teammates on Sirus X.*
The irony did not escape her: the sentient plant that she had rescued
from the Sirusian Imperial arboretum had been returned to the planet Verdant
only to be consumed by the Devourer of Worlds.** The entity would have been
better off remaining a prisoner on display for the Dark God of the Universal
Church of Truth. Mantis silently swore that she would somehow make amends for
the recent choices she had made.
(*See Spinsterhood #5-6 for details.)
(**See Galactus the Devourer #4 for details.)
When the Silver Surfer departed the
Homeworld of the Shi’ar, his first destination was the Worldship that had
played such a key role in devouring the energies of the Devourer thanks to a
computer virus created by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.* As the Surfer
had suspected, it still lay at the heart of the new sun. All that remained of
Galactus was this star that, strangely, did not alter the gravitational forces
or temperatures of the solar system in the slightest. For a medium-aged sun to
suddenly have a binary partner was unprecedented, and the inherent dangers were
(* Marvel’s GTD #6 again.)
Logically, the Shi’ar had
dispatched a series of scientific vessels to determine the precise nature of the
new stellar phenomenon. The Surfer had referred to the second sun as “fitting
recompense” after what the Shi’ar had suffered. In fact, it was the cause of
unmitigated fear, a constant reminder that the stellar system was the cemetery
of a Cosmic Being. The Shi’ar scientists confirmed that the damaged Worldship
lay at the heart of the new sun. Although it had been unable to process all of
Galactus’ energies, it had not been completely destroyed.
Majestrix Lilandra Neramani
considered her advisors’ suggestions, including relocating the Throneworld
altogether. There was no guarantee that the Worldship would continue its tenuous
aversion of disaster indefinitely. There
was also no guarantee that Galactus would not somehow re-corporate and seek out
the first inhabited planet he could find.
To make matters worse, countless
opportunistic species were setting their sights on the technological marvels
within the heat-less sun. To Galactus’ credit, the Worldship’s defenses
would easily deal with clumsy attempts at incursion, but Norrin Radd recognized
the potential for a clever creature like Thanos or Tyrant to manipulate
circumstances to their advantage. If Reed Richards could reprogram the Worldship
once, surely others could as well. Still, for a while, the vast vessel was his
to command. His first order was to recall Galactus’ personal scout cruiser
from the orbit Gladiator had helped him to establish around Homeworld* before it
too became a target of scavenging on the surface.
(* Last issue.)
With Galactus gone, Norrin also feared for the fate of
Taa II, Galactus stellar system-wide home base. Fortunately, its automated
defenses and repair systems were superior to those of the Worldship. In
addition, its location was unknown to all save Galactus’ creations. Again, the
thought of Tyrant haunted the Surfer’s thoughts. Yes, securing Galactus’
unequaled technology must take precedence over all else.
Norrin Radd phased through the wall of the Worldship as he
had done before. The energy release by Galactus had clearly taken its toll.
Several of the Worldship’s mechanisms were inoperable. The Surfer deemed it
most logical to use the ship’s still functioning hyperspacial capabilities to
relocate it back to Taa II for repair and safekeeping.
Suddenly, Gladiator appeared beside the former Herald. “No,
Surfer. You cannot remove the ship from the new sun.”
“I assume you stowed away on the smaller scout vessel we
salvaged from Homeworld, Praetor. Now is hardly the time to lecture me or to
make demands. Depart immediately.”
“Listen to me, you stubborn fool! Our scientists have
theorized that mechanisms aboard this vessel are absorbing and redirecting the
gravitational and heat forces that should be emanating from the Galactan star.
This Worldship serves as the engine that averts those forces from throwing the
entire stellar system into chaos. Relocate it, and the new sun will certainly
throw the entire system into ecological chaos. Imagine the forces, tearing the
inner planets into asteroid belts, attracting moons and worlds from their
current orbits. Imagine the axis of Homeworld tilted, planetary revolutions and
rotations irreparably altered. Imagine icecaps melting, jungles catching fire,
land-quakes, volcanoes, is that what you want to accomplish? Hasn’t the
Shi’ar Empire been through enough because of you?”
“Your blame is well-placed. You are correct, I am the cause
of the destruction across Homeworld. And I am here to begin to make amends. I
want to free the Shi’ar of the burden of defending this husk from pillagers
and plunderers from across the Known Galaxies.”
Gladiator stood firm, arms crossing his massive chest. “We
first need time to determine which mechanisms are stabilizing the stellar
upheaval. Perhaps we can remove or replicate them.”
Suddenly the computer voice of the Worldship crackled.
“Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert. Self-Destruct sequence activated.
The Shi’ar Praetor fumed in
anger. “What have you done?!”
“What have I done?!?! I am not the Intruder here!” The
Surfer stared anxiously at the computer screen. “Computer deactivate
The response sent a chill down the Surfer’s spine.
“Unable to comply. Automatic deactivation can only be achieved on Taa II.”
Gladiator’s fists began to seethe with energy. “You have
doomed us all!”
Mantis appeared from around a corner that led to Galactus’
menagerie and gardens. The Surfer shook his head. Was boarding the Worldship so
easy after all? Without the Punisher robot that typically served in the
vessel’s defense, perhaps its destruction was the best alternative, though not
in such close proximity to inhabited worlds.
Mantis addressed the two men before
her. “None of us caused this, but we had best find a solution quickly!”
The Surfer was quick to address the display screen. “Ship,
show me a visual of the intruders.”
Within several sectors of the Worldship, pirates forayed into
the depths of the vessel. Several lay dead at the hands of the automated
security mechanisms such as the ones that attacked the Surfer only hours
before.* Two were easily identifiable to the three Protectors.
(* GTD #6.)
Gladiator scowled at the screen.
“Nebula and Gaetar! Pirates and scavengers of the worst ilk. How did they
manage to get this far into Shi’ar space? Our defenses are the best in the
The Surfer focused on the matter at
hand. “A question for another time. We must initiate the hyperspacial jump!”
Gladiator’s eyes glowed with an intense fury. “If this
Worldship ceases to function, then the Shi’ar Homeworld will be irrevocably
altered! There must be another alternative!”
Mantis pleaded with her teammates from the Protectors.
“Kallark, Norrin, now is not the time for debate! How long until the ship
“Five minutes at the most.” The Surfer strained for
another alternative, but none came to him. Why must every recent crisis be
resolved by choosing the lesser of two evils?
The Surfer made up his mind. “The Worldship’s anti-matter
auto-destruction will easily take out the entire solar system, and possibly
beyond. At least if I shunt it through hyperspace to Taa II for repairs, the
damage from the unhindered sun will be less extensive than that.”
Mantis felt the vessel shudder and convulse beneath her feet.
“There is no more time! We must decide!”
Norrin Radd looked toward Gladiator, if not for validation,
then at least for understanding. The Praetor’s heart sank at his own words.
The Surfer activated the Worldship’s hyperspacial jump
sequence that would return it automatically to its home base with a ten second
time delay. Most of the surviving scavengers had evacuated by then, frustrated
that their booty had already begun to self-destruct in their grasps. The three
Protectors quickly exited the vessel and stopped just beyond the new sun’s
“I have failed you, my Majestrix.” Gladiator’s words
were weighted down in regret.
The hyperspacial rift opened, and the Worldship slipped
through it. In an instant, it was gone. Unlike the Shi’ar technology that
created Stargates, the more advanced Worldship did not damage the spatial fabric
of the area. The Surfer, Mantis at his side on his board, and Gladiator watched
the new sun as their fears awaited realization.
But the gravitational and heat effects did not come.
Gladiator’s rare tears did not have a chance to stream down
his face in the vacuum of space. Only their Protectors’ communication implants
allowed them to speak. “How… how is this possible?”
The Surfer was equally dumbfounded. “Perhaps your
scientists were wrong after all. Perhaps the Worldship was not the cause of the
new star’s lack of heat and gravity. Perhaps Galactus himself ensured the
survival of the Shi’ar in a final gesture of mercy.”
“Mercy from the Devourer of Worlds? Do not be absurd!
Surely there must be another explanation.” Already, Gladiator was reverting to
his hostile self, quickly burying all traces of the helplessness from only
The Surfer’s relief was palpable.
“I depart immediately for Taa II then. I must ensure that none abuse the
technology Galactus has left behind. Contact me when you receive word from our
allies on Sirus X. I would return there with you once my fellow Heralds are
available. They must be informed of these events.”
Gladiator balked at the command and
nearly lunged toward the Surfer. Mantis quickly held his arm in a gentle
embrace. “Kallark and This One must return to Homeworld now, Surfer. Do what
you must, as will we.”
Nodding, the Surfer departed for
open space between star systems, from which he could safely create a spatial
In space around Taa II, the
Worldship’s computers spoke. “Auto-Destruct deactivated. Warning, damaged
defenses off-line. Repair mode initiating.”
The beautiful, indigo skinned Nebula smiled at her incredible
good fortune. She turned to her massive male companion. “Gaetar, old friend,
today is our lucky day…”
Air-Walker was quick to compose
himself. “Red Shift, Blue Shift,
Terrax, I know not if you consider yourselves friend or foe, but I do know that
the Tyrant is a threat to all who bear the mantle of Galactus’ legacy.”
Blue Shift did not hesitate. In a swift blur of indigo, she
rushed into battle. Terrax spared a final, uncharacteristically concerned glance
toward Starglow before following suit. Red Shift’s eyes darted suspiciously
among the former Heralds, then he proceeded as well.
Gabriel Lan continued. “Surfer, you know the Shi’ar best.
Go try to reason with them. But first, the orb.”
Norrin Radd nodded to his friend, one of the few souls from
whom he would follow commands in a crisis. “Understood.” The Surfer knew of
what orb Air-Walker spoke. He reached into the solid Power Cosmic that was his
surfboard and removed the small hand-sized orb of Tyrant that contained the
physical body of Shalla Bal. The orb was also the storage place for the
multitudes of Zen Lavians and Xandarians that escaped annihilation.
Tyrant had recovered from Starglow’s uncontrolled flare of
painful Power Cosmic sufficiently to see his orb change hands. His sinister grin
spread once more. “Ah, I thought I sensed the presence of my property.
Thanos’ theft will finally be resolved this day.”* Suddenly, Terrax, Red
Shift, and Blue Shift were upon him.
(* See Marvel’s Cosmic Powers Limited Series #1-6 for details.)
Lan continued his directions. “Nova, Firelord help them against Tyrant. I will take Shalla Bal into the heart of the new sun. It is there that her salvation lies. Make certain to keep Tyrant away from the orb.” With that, Gabriel sped toward the core of the Galactan star.
The Silver Surfer signaled the lead battle cruiser of the
Shi’ar armada with a sign of universal peace. The vessel, which only days ago
would have feted his role in ending Galactus’ threat, fired upon the former
Herald. Fear clearly drove them.
In this instance, the Surfer could
not argue with that fear. He had never known greater fear for the fate of all
Existence than in the moment Galactus died. Norrin Radd suspected that the more
superstitious among the Shi’ar would even begin or adapt quasi-religious
cults, willing to make sacrifices to their new sun. The sad pattern was the same
across the Universe. Sentients attempted to draw solace and security worshipping
that which they feared most: the Unknown.
(* Last seen in Captain Marvel #14 on sale now!)
Eric the Red responded with
reverence. “We understand, Holiness.” Both men then spoke in unison. “By
your leave, Holiness.” With that, the two departed.
The priestess lowered her hood, and observed the representation of the sacred crystal before her. Deathbird grinned malevolently at her own twisted reflection. “‘Thy will be done, oh, mighty Tyrant!’ Bah! Soon, D’Ken, dear brother, our time will come again…”
As Air-Walker approached the epicenter of the star, he could
feel the familiar light awash over him. Truly this was the remains of his former
master and friend, he thought. Gabriel spared no time for mourning, however.
There would be time enough for that if they survived. As with every Herald,
Air-Walker could adjust the amount of light he observed by varying the density
of the Power Cosmic glaze that covered his eyes. Soon he was ready to penetrate
the new celestial body.
At the center of the sun he
released Shalla Bal momentarily and focused on the orb. Gabriel gazed at the
sphere in sadness. He remembered Epoch’s warning during the Cosmic Union
(* See Cosmic Union for details.)
Epoch had stated that,
“Regrettably, the countless Zenn Lavians and Xandarians suspended within the
orb must remain there until the orb's dimension stabilizes itself. My seal
should dissipate when the dimension is ready."
Pyreus Kril had spoken up at that.
"Xandarians? You mean that Galactus saved the lives of Xandar's inhabitants
as well? But why?"
Epoch had continued. "Probably
for the same reason he saved Zenn La; above mere mortals he may be, but the
Devourer does ever demonstrate a subtle affection for his Heralds."
Gabriel Lan had asked, "How
long will it be before they can emerge?"
"Without interruption, they
should be able to exit the sphere within mere months by Earth's standard of
time. The pods will not be awakened until their return to real space."
Back in the heart of the sun, Gabriel Lan shuddered at the
memory. “Without interruption.” For the life of Shalla Bal, he was willing
to interrupt the healing process. It was a decision that weighed heavily upon
him. The needs of one individual could not outweigh the needs of so many without
legitimate justification. His sentiments were not reason enough.
Starglow’s erratic pulses of energy flared again, weakening
her further, and the decision was made. Gabriel used his Power Cosmic abilities
to open an aperture between dimensions. He held Shalla Bal once more and entered
the orb. At first, Epoch’s seal seemed impenetrable. Still holding Starglow in
one arm, Air-Walker pulled out his rarely used implement, a curved horn of solid
Power Cosmic. Perhaps it was his blowing of that powerful instrument, perhaps it
was Shalla Bal’s ongoing energy emissions, or perhaps it was her mere presence
on both sides of the seal, but Gabriel’s gambit paid off.
What Air-Walker found inside astounded him. The Xandarians
and Zen Lavians remained quietly in stasis, their rows of pods not unlike an
endless series of coffins. But the pods that had preserved the original physical
bodies of the Heralds were all opened and emptied except for one: Shalla Bal.
What surprised Gabriel was that there should have been two. The creature
Morg should also have been present, healing adjacent to Shalla Bal.
Gabriel expanded his senses to track Morg’s specific
biochemical and energy signature across the pocket dimension. He was nowhere to
be found. Morg had somehow managed to escape his fate before the orb was secured
in the Surfer’s board at the conclusion of the Cosmic Union event.* But the
only being to have made contact with the orb before Shalla Bal’s recreation as
Starglow was… Epoch? But for what reason?
(*See Cosmic Union #12 for details.)
The mystery would have to wait for another time. Lan’s
preeminent concern was for the safety of Shalla Bal. He checked her physical
body’s condition using his skilled rapport with Galactus’ technology from
when he had served as the Worldship’s intelligence. Shalla Bal was still
terribly damaged, but no longer beyond his ability to help. The timing would
need to be precise, but there was hope after all.
He opened the pod and used his abilities to merge the two
forms of Shalla Bal. Simultaneously he used his healing power to help stabilize
her. He felt the upper limits of his power begin to strain, and he knew that any
further effort would unleash the Hunger of Galactus he so dreaded.
He had failed her. He could not
risk the Hunger again as he had considered doing on Sirus X after her conflict
with Rune, Dark God of the Universal Church of Truth.*
(* See POTU #11 for details.)
As on Sirus X, he ultimately did not need to. The flare of
Power Cosmic that she suffered served as a super-charge of healing for her own
physical form, synchronizing with his own healing efforts. Once completely
superimposed, her body, soul, and power balanced each other such that the
sporadic energy bursts ceased. She would have control again, and be as the other
Heralds were, integrated. The former Heralds had suspected that the timing of
the reunification with their physical bodies immediately after the Cosmic Union
was more than coincidence or punishment on Galactus’ part. Only Starglow had
remained as they had been for so long, spiritual essences possessing solid Power
Cosmic bodies. They too might have shared her erratic power surges had they not
rejoined their birth forms. Now she would be free of the wildly shifting energy
releases, but suffer the terrifying potential of the Hunger as well. A bitter
victory, Gabriel mused, but a victory nonetheless.
The dimensional aperture that led
back to the star’s core remained open. The brilliant light that was formerly
Galactus shone like a beam upon the Zen Lavian woman’s slowly stirring form.
Shalla Bal’s radiant physical form began to swirl and shift from her golden,
long-haired “Ardina / Starglow” form. Her appearance altered before him, as
a silvery surface appeared about her, apparently comprised of…
“Plasma.” Shalla Bal whispered. Crackling globules of
plasma energy surrounded her transformed figure.*
(* See cover of CPU #42 for a visual.)
Air-Walker ignored the transformation for the moment, overcome with relief.
Air-Walker and Plasma emerged from the orb at the heart of
the sun just in time to turn around and witness Tyrant reaching the sphere
despite five Heralds’ best efforts. As the Tyrant took possession, everything
seemed to freeze in the Universe. The creations of Galactus were the only beings
capable of movement. The Shi’ar armada that had been exchanging fire with the
Silver Surfer paused in mid-energy discharge. Confused, the Surfer returned to
the Galactan star to rejoin his comrades.
Before Tyrant spoke a single word of triumph, the reason for
time stopping revealed itself. As if from nothingness, Eternity stepped forward
from between folds of space and time. Beside him was a purple cloaked being that
could only be Mistress Death.
The former Heralds shuddered at the cold that washed from
Death’s form. Awed by the sheer magnitude of the vision, they stopped their
conflict with Tyrant, who also ceased hostilities out of respect for the Cosmic
Eternity spoke. “You have been allowed, as all of the heirs
of the Cosmic Balance, to witness this day’s events.”
Remembering his search within the orb, Air-Walker was quick
to inquire under his breath to his colleagues. “All? But where then is Morg?”
Before anyone could respond, Gabriel’s senses, still specifically attuned to
tracking Morg’s biochemistry, turned to the new incarnation of Tyrant.
Continued in Posterity Part Three
Continued in Posterity Part Three. Be sure to also check out our Cosmic Union Continuity Reference Page and Protectors of the Universe Reference Page for other stories in this continuity. And don't forget to send some comments below or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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